Services Thursday in memory of Dr. J. Robert Long, 1923-2015

March 8, 2015 at 6:34 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Family and friends will gather in West Seattle on Thursday to remember Dr. J. Robert Long. Here is the remembrance his family is sharing:

Beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather Dr. J. Robert Long, born May 19, 1923, peacefully passed away in Seattle March 6, 2015.

He obtained his Doctorate of Education from the University of Washington. He was a life-long educator/administrator at West Seattle High School, Seattle University, University of Washington, and Shoreline Community College. He was dedicated to always being available to serve students.

He was a World War II Veteran, serving in the South Pacific. As a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, he led the meteorology unit in Okinawa.

He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Mercedes Long; his four children: Kathie Salonen (Bob), Bob Long, Sherrie Williams (John); and Kristie Farnworth (Steve). He is also survived by 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

He will be deeply missed by all who knew him for his positive outlook. He always had a smile on his face and a joke on his lips. Above all else his primary dedication was to his family.

Services will be held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 2 pm, 6701 30th Ave. SW. Graveside services to follow. Reception to follow at Boulevard Park Place, 2825 S 125th St.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Memorial, reception this Sunday for Bob Dowding, 1947-2015

March 6, 2015 at 1:14 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

A bittersweet week for the Seattle Lutheran High School community – cheering its basketball team in the state tournament, while mourning longtime athletic director and teacher Bob Dowding. The service and reception to celebrate his life are set for this Sunday afternoon. Here’s the remembrance his loved ones are sharing with the community:

Robert (Bob) Earl Dowding went to his Heavenly home on February 24, 2015, after valiantly battling cancer.

He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, March 31, 1947, to Gerald and Eva (Rockenbach) Dowding. He attended country schools through 6th grade, after which he attended Palmyra, Nebraska, public schools. He graduated from Palmyra High School where he was active in football, basketball, track, chorus and class plays. Bob attended Sunday School and was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Eagle, Nebraska. He attended Concordia Teachers’ College, Seward, Nebraska, where he majored in secondary education and played football.

After graduating from college, Bob taught 24 years in Southern California, 21 of those years at Orange Lutheran High School, Orange, California. He was one of the original five founding staff members. He served as Athletic Director/teacher and in the beginning set up and coached all-new sports programs. Bob then worked for 20 years at Seattle Lutheran High School as Athletic Director/teacher.

Click to read the rest of Memorial, reception this Sunday for Bob Dowding, 1947-2015…

Meet West Seattleite Erden Eruç, whose trip around the globe made history, Thursday at Emerald Water Anglers

March 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

(Photos courtesy Around-N-Over: Above, Erden’s arrival in Louisiana during circumnavigation)
Did you know that Erden Eruç is one of your neighbors here in West Seattle?

He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first person to complete a solo human-powered circumnavigation of the planet. He did it without much fanfare, but fanfare wasn’t the point – read about it here.

That would be the achievement of a lifetime, to say the least, for just about anyone. But it’s one of many for Erden: Among other things, he’s also the first person to have rowed the three major oceans (including 5,465 nautical miles across the Atlantic).

If you haven’t met him yet – or even if you have! – you’ll want to be at Emerald Water Anglers (WSB sponsor) in The Junction this Thursday night, 7-9, to see and hear from him and find out what he’s planning next. He’s not just resting on his achievements; he leads the nonprofit Around-N-Over, which supports his goal of educating and inspiring people, especially students, who he often tells: “When we dream big and choose to embark on a larger-than-life journey, success depends on taking a few big steps which are noteworthy in their own right or many small steps at a rapid pace.”

Erden has been a West Seattleite for a year and a half, but has resided in Seattle “since 1999 except for a 1 year stint in Sydney, Australia,” he tells us. He’s getting ready for a new adventure you can read about here, but at EWA this Thursday night, he’ll focus on the human-powered circumnavigation tale, plus “footage of fish that I caught given the focus of Emerald Water Anglers’ store.” If you haven’t been to EWA yet (where the merchandise includes outdoor apparel, too, for more than fishing), it’s on the ground floor of Oregon 42, southeast corner of 42nd and Oregon.

VIDEO: Record-setting WestSide Baby Benefit Tea crowd gives big, encouraged to ‘look for the hidden need’

March 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

(Auction-style cards were held up at the tea to answer calls for donations)
Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

While a room packed with more than 630 people giving to a nonprofit is a visible sign of caring and support, the people they’re helping are too often not so easy to see. That reminder – to “look for the hidden need” — was the theme of this year’s WestSide Baby benefit tea this afternoon at the SeaTac Hilton Conference Center.

The festive and friendly event not only set an attendance record, it raised more than $300,000 (midweek update: $315,000!) – up from last year, which in turn (despite a snow-suppressed turnout) was more than the year before. The increase in donations is vital because of an increase in what WS Baby is doing already, and what more it could be doing, as the nonprofit’s leaders explained.

(Tea chair Beth Wright with WS Baby executive director Nancy Woodland)
The first speaker of the event, tea chair Beth Wright. said she is in awe of “neighbors helping neighbors” via WS Baby. When it began in the early 2000s, almost 200 children were served. This past year – more than 27,000 children. “So how do we get all of this done?” Wright answered her own question: Through donations and volunteers, comprising “an amazing network of support.” Its partners number more than 120 – social-service agencies and other organizations serving families. “In supporting WestSide Baby,” said Wright, “you are actually supporting those agencies” as well.

While WS Baby is known best for getting diapers to families who cannot afford them – executive director Nancy Woodland, who’s been with WS Baby for nine years, told the tea attendees that so many other needs exist: “Every single baby deserves to have a safe place to sleep,” for example, she said. Last year, WS Baby received 600 requests for cribs – a number roughly equal to those in attendance. But two-thirds of those requests could not be fulfilled. Here’s video of her full speech:

That can change with actions beyond attending today’s event, Woodland said: “Spread the word – host a donation drive – invite others to hear our stories – have members of the WestSide Baby board of directors come speak to your friends, or your workplace.”

WestSide Baby needs to grow, said Woodland, explaining that it hopes to move to another location in White Center, “just down the block.” And it needs a better online-ordering system. When they last increased their space in 2010, she noted, they were able to serve 26 percent more kids immediately: “More things can go in, more things can go out.” She said WS Baby is now helping 1/20th of the number of families in need, around the county, illustrating this by having a few tables of teagoers stand up – about 1/20th of those in attendance. She stressed repeatedly that those in need don’t display it – “to truly understand it, we need to look for the hidden need. … keep our eyes open so that our heart can act on this.”

Those in the room got to meet one of WestSide Baby’s clients, Karen, first via a video, then when she came up to speak.

She talked about having been homeless, and having become a mom at 16. She and her family have a home now, but she and her husband, both working full time, “live paycheck to paycheck.” She spoke of having dreams for their sons, including a 4-month-old held by Woodland as his mom spoke, with his big brother standing alongside:

An early life of financial struggles was also described by featured speaker Kathy LeMay, founder/CEO of Raising Change:

“When Nancy talks about hidden need … I spent all my time (in childhood) trying to hide how poor I was.” Her mother scraped to enable LeMay to go to college, and she talked about how surreal it seemed to have classmates asking “where do you summer?”, and talking herself out of “the Pennsylvania mill-town accent.” She also spoke of compassion – everyone is your neighbor, not just someone who lives by you – yet she is troubled to see “the shift away from compassion,” as people try to set themselves apart from those in tough times, especially those who have made mistakes, though those are the people who need it most.

LeMay lauded those on hand for “showing big business and government what it’s like to help people without judgment. … You just showed people what your character is. … We are all just trying to bring each other home.” Compassion transforms you, she said. And she lauded the attendees again, for spending a Sunday afternoon to gather in an airport hotel to give. That preceded the card-raising gift-making opportunity.

After the speeches, the event moved to raucous rounds of giving and receiving. Cards were waved as calls were made to donate certain amounts, some of which were matched; emcee Ian Lindsay thundered through what seemed like amazingly endless lists of numbers, of people choosing to give beyond what they had donated for entry to the tea, with the hundreds of donors including County Councilmember Joe McDermott:

As for receiving, first, necklaces were sold as entries in the Tombola drawing – as modeled by Josh Sutton of the West Seattle YMCA (tea sponsor and WSB sponsor), at right below with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen:

Woodland’s children McInnis and Phineas helped with the drawings, as has become a WS Baby Tea tradition:

What they are holding in our photo are two of the famous Baby Cakes that also are available for purchase at the tea each year – created by Avalon Glassworks. The twist is that one box also included a $1,000 necklace donated by Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) – so purchasers are asked to wait and open theirs simultaneously to see who got the necklace.

This year, it was Aileen, who was clearly thrilled:

The tea concluded with Lindsay’s announcement of the grand total, which we recorded in this quick Instagram clip:


ALSO AT THE TEA: As seen in our video above of Nancy Woodland’s speech, two volunteers were honored with the Donna Pierce (WS Baby founder) Service AwardJerry Johnson of First Student, for making the “Stuff the Bus” diaper-drive bus happen every year (even though it’s usually his birthday weekend!):

And devoted volunteer Laurie Pinard was honored too:

SPONSORS: The local businesses and organizations backing the tea included WSB sponsors too – Ventana Construction, Jackson, Morgan, & Hunt PLLC, Budget Blinds of West Seattle, West Seattle Thriftway, WEdesign, Inc., West Seattle Design Build, and as mentioned earlier, West Seattle YMCA and Wyatt’s Jewelers; Alki Party Treasures donated part of the kids’ birthday party package that was one of the Tombola prizes. Other organizations on the long list of sponsors included the West Seattle Food Bank and White Center Food Bank; WCFB’s executive director Rick Jump posed with board member Kari Holsberry (and a “babycake”):

HOW TO HELP WESTSIDE BABY ANY TIME: Money, volunteering time, items – how to give to WS Baby is all explained online. (Speaking of online, Woodland gave the crowd a quick sneak peek of a remodeled WS Baby website, launching soon!)

West Seattle(ites) weekend scene: Local Hot Chocolate runners

March 1, 2015 at 12:17 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Thanks to Brenda for the photo. She reports:

11 of us women from West Seattle participated in and finished the Hot Chocolate 15k from the Space Needle. Beautiful day and a great race!

By the way, now that the race is over, the Highway 99 closure north of downtown is over too, and SDOT confirms that 99 has reopened both ways.

SIDE NOTE: Upcoming runs in our area (with online registration under way right now) include the White Center 5K on March 28th and the West Seattle 5K (co-sponsored by WSB) on May 17th!

2 days until Girl Scout Cookie sales in West Seattle (and beyond)

February 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 17 Comments

1:45 PM: If you’re a fan of Girl Scout Cookies and haven’t already procured them some other way, you should know that the official cookie-selling season begins Friday (February 27th). This year the online cookie-finder tool is at a different place – find it here – but works the same way: Put your zip code in the search box and you’ll get a list of cookie-selling locations, dates, and times. Earliest ones we’re seeing outside West Seattle businesses are at 2 pm Friday. If you’re involved with a local Girl Scout troop, by the way, we welcome info and photos related to your sale (maybe somebody has a photo from the cookie-pickup event?) – e-mail editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks and good luck!

ADDED 2:41 PM: Thanks to Cheryl for obliging with the photo we’ve added above, from this last year’s event in which troops from all over this area retrieve their cookies from a loading dock on West Marginal!

Remembering Frederick W. Burns, 1947-2015

February 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

A celebration of life for Frederick W. Burns is planned for March 1st. His family shares this remembrance:

Frederick Wycliffe Burns passed away suddenly February 8, 2015 at Swedish Hospital surrounded by family. Born February 27, 1947, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Fred was a lifelong Seattle resident and Husky fan. He graduated from the University of Washington School of International Business and worked in the municipal bond business for more than three decades.

Fred was passionate, charismatic, and had a huge heart. He was dearly loved by many, including Shari, the love of his life; his daughter and son-in-law Catherine and Olivier Humbert, grandchildren Camille and Theo, his parents Donald and Elaine Burns, and his predeceased brothers Billy and Don Burns.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute in his memory to West Seattle Helpline or West Seattle Food Bank.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday March 1, 2015, 4-6 pm, at Salty’s on Alki.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Centennial celebration next Saturday for West Seattle’s Troop 284

February 15, 2015 at 2:13 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

“Happy birthday” wishes go out to West Seattle’s Boy Scout Troop 284 – and this is a BIG birthday: The troop’s centennial celebration. You’re invited to join them for the party – whether or not you are or have been associated with Troop 284:

TROOP 284 CENTENNIAL REUNION CELEBRATIONS
February 21, 2015, 5:30 pm
The Brockey Conference Center, at South Seattle College

On February 21, 2015, Boy Scouts of America Troop 284 will celebrate their 100-year anniversary as a continuously chartered troop in Seattle by hosting a Centennial Reunion & Dinner Celebration. We welcome friends, family, Scouts, and other interested persons to join us at the Brockey Conference Center at South Seattle College at 5:30 pm. Please register at seattlebsa.org/new/event-registration

Questions regarding banquet registration and Troop 284 information can be addressed to: Troop284WestSeattle@gmail.com

Troop 284 was established in 1915 under the commission of William Barnet and remains chartered to the Boy Scouts of America through the West Seattle Kiwanis. Over the last 100 years, Troop 284 has proudly graduated 102 Eagle Scouts and provided 15,000 hours of service in and around the West Seattle community and beyond.

Since 1988, Troop 284 has maintained their commitment to the West Seattle Food Bank through the Scouting for Food drives; an annual program where the Scouts collect food donations from the West Seattle community. Over the last 27 years, Troop 284 has collected and donated more than 1,000 pounds of food per year to the food bank.

In keeping with their commitment to service, Troop 284 gathered at the West Seattle Food Bank on Jan. 24 to help assemble and install some much needed storage shelving.

Their Centennial Service Project was completed with assistance from Walter F. Toth Construction.

As our Troop transitions to our next 100 years, we hope you will stay in touch and continue to share in our Boy Scout journey. We welcome your support and involvement. For current Troop events: facebook.com/WSTroop284

Memorial on February 19th for Jimmy D. Picinich Jr., 1971-2015

February 7, 2015 at 7:21 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

Services for Jimmy D. Picinich Jr., 43, are planned February 19th at Holy Rosary Church. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:

Jimmy D. Picinich Jr., born April 30, 1971, passed away at home on January 30th.

Jimmy attended Holy Rosary, John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, and Shoreline Community College.

After completing his education, Jimmy began his career as a Seattle Longshoreman, a proud member of ILWU Local 19 for 25 years.

Jimmy leaves behind his wife Kelli, daughter Taylor, his loving parents Jim and Janet Picinich, sister Krista, brother-in-law Colin, nephew Jimmy, and niece Addison.

Services will be held at West Seattle Holy Rosary Church on Thursday, February 19th, at 10:30 am; reception to follow in Lanigan Gymnasium at Holy Rosary School.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Congratulations! Tomboy X founders’ surprise football wedding

February 1, 2015 at 11:56 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

Thanks to Heather for tweeting the photo and the news of two West Seattle entrepreneurs tying the knot – in the Super Bowl teams’ jerseys, no less: Naomi Gonzalez and Fran Dunaway, the West Seattleites who founded clothing company Tomboy Exchange in 2013, are newlyweds. Their Saturday wedding, according to a note on the Tomboy X website, was a surprise: “Everyone thought they were coming to play flag football but at halftime they sprung a surprise ceremony amongst their friends and family in Seattle.” Heather adds via Twitter that the game resumed after the wedding, and ended in a 27-27 tie.

West Seattle brothers join in youth-led ‘State of the Planet’ event

January 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

(Photos by Andy Clark, courtesy 350 Seattle)
Last year they sang downtown at a rally of concern about exploding oil trains; today, West Seattle brothers Aji and Adonis Piper were part of the State of the Planet” event at City Hall. Though City Councilmember Mike O’Brien was on hand, this event was led by young sustainability ambassadors, campaigning for two initiatives – first, the Billion-Tree Challenge:

According to the young advocates supported by 350 Seattle, if each person in our state planted 150 trees, that would add up to a billion new ones, creating, advocates say, a “carbon bank” to get through the rest of this century. The other proposal discussed today: Climate-change-warning labels on gas-pump nozzles in Seattle, something like this:

The Northern California city of Berkeley passed an ordinance last November approving that type of label; San Francisco is reported to be considering it. Those who attended today’s event heard from Rob Shirkey, who has been campaigning for the pump labels in Canada. There is no formal proposal pending in Seattle yet.

West Seattle weekend scene: Puget Ridge neighbors’ cleanup

January 24, 2015 at 11:48 am | In Puget Ridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

More than two dozen Puget Ridge neighbors of all ages hit the streets this morning for a community cleanup. Thanks to Amy Hallmon for sharing photos.

Something cool happening in YOUR ‘hood? Please let us know so we can share the news peninsula-wide!

Celebration of life on February 3rd for Jim Hartog, 1933-2015

January 23, 2015 at 4:00 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

A celebration of Jim Hartog‘s life is planned for February 3rd. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:

In Loving Memory of James Hartog

Jim was born on July 9th, 1933 to Johannes and Margaret Hartog at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital.

He received his early education at Holy Rosary School and graduated from O’Dea High School. He joined the U. S. Navy and served until the end of the Korean War.

He was employed by Doyle’s Automotive Service and purchased the business upon the death of the owner in 1968. Jim was a member of the West Seattle Lions Club and served many years as Chairman of the Easter Breakfast.

In 1995 Jim had an accidental fall which left him a quadriplegic. His spirits were never dampened and he continued his cheerfulness and love of life until his death.

Jim is survived by his wife of 58 years; Nancy, his daughter Anastasia and her partner Tracy Giles, his son Jon, and his wife Sarah and three grandsons.

A celebration of his life will be held Tuesday, February 3rd, 1:00 p.m. at Mount Baker Community Club, 2811 Mount Rainier Drive South, Seattle.

In lieu of flowers; donations may be made to Providence Hospice of Seattle or Holy Rosary School of Seattle.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

West Seattleite Cate Hardy chosen as new PCC Natural Markets CEO

January 20, 2015 at 11:45 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) has just announced a new CEO – and she is a West Seattle resident. Cate Hardy joins PCC this week from Starbucks, where she has worked for 9 years, most recently as vice president of operations, according to the PCC announcement, which says she “brings more than 15 years of retail experience in general management, retail operations, supply chain, growth and store development, and strategy” to her new job. The Seattle-based food-store company had been led since last May by Randy Lee, its chief financial officer, serving as interim CEO. The full announcement, with more on Hardy’s background, is on PCC’s website, here. PCC has 10 markets around the metro area, including one at 2749 California SW here in West Seattle. (Photo courtesy PCC Natural Markets)

Congrats! West Seattle Soccer Club’s Bill Fry wins national award

January 19, 2015 at 7:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 10 Comments

(Photo courtesy West Seattle Soccer Club)
Congratulations to Bill Fry, vice president of administration for West Seattle Soccer Club, honored as national Administrator of the Year award by U.S. Youth Soccer. WSSC’s Tim McMonigle explains, “Over the past year, he had moved up by winning at the club, association, district, state, region, and now the national level. This is a huge honor, and continues our recent successes at the national level with others from our club that have represented our club and association very well.” As the announcement notes, while Fry was WSSC president, the number of registered players nearly doubled.

Victory scenes, including West Seattle Seahawks fans’ celebrations

January 18, 2015 at 9:30 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 7 Comments

Super Bowl countdown is on! But first, tonight: Some of the photos (etc.) we’ve received since The Big Win. First, intrepid fans waded into Puget Sound to celebrate:

Thanks to Mark for that photo. Next one’s from Amy:

Amy says, “Finnegan from Gatewood Hill brought good luck to the Hawks in the 4th quarter!!” Meantime, two West Seattleites snapped themselves during a historic moment at the CLink:

Gary Potter (left) e-mailed the photo, captioning it, “Josh Sutton snaps a selfie after the final TD in OT!!!!”

Also notable today, the weather. Trileigh Tucker caught video of the brief ice-pellet shower:

Trileigh captioned it “Hailquake“; we’ve also heard it dubbed the “Hail Mary” moment! It followed – after a bit of a time gap – one burst of thunder that coincided with the Seahawks’ big comeback. Earlier, John Bartell caught this sunbreak with a rainbow (promise of victory?):

Last but not at all least – this isn’t in West Seattle but does have a local link. Jim Winder, mastermind of the West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, has a light show in Maple Valley and says it’s 100 percent Seahawks-themed, continuing nightly through the Super Bowl. He shared this clip of “Hawktown Funk”:

Want to go check out the Maple Valley lights? Address and map are here.

So now we have two weeks of pre-Super Bowl excitement to come – if you have a Seahawk-spirit photo or tip, please let us know so we can share along the way.

Memorial planned Tuesday for Edward Gottbehuet, 1922-2015

January 18, 2015 at 1:35 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A memorial service is planned Tuesday for Edward D. Gottbehuet. Here’s the remembrance that’s being shared with the community:

Edward Donald “Ed Huet” Gottbehuet, 92, of West Seattle, died Saturday, January 10, 2015.

He was born July 1, 1922 in Seattle, the son of the late Donald and Marie (Neupauer) Gottbehuet. He dated and eventually married Josephine Christ. As a child, he lived in Detroit, Michigan, until his parents moved to Seattle (Beacon Hill). Edward graduated from Franklin High School in 1940 and then spent 40 years in the United States Navy. He also worked for Alaska Packers, was a golf caddy at Jefferson Golf Course, and retired as a postal worker at age 65. Edward also sold real estate up until age 89.

He is survived and loved by his wife, son Mark, and daughter Jody. Edward believed in the Lord and could always say “God Bless” to everyone. A Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1245 10th Avenue E., on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, followed by a graveside service with military honors at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

VIDEO: Alki rally, march urges freedom for Lolita, last surviving captive Puget Sound killer whale

January 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, Wildlife | 11 Comments

(WSB photos/video by Patrick Sand)
A gathering this afternoon around West Seattle’s replica of a powerful symbol of human freedom was organized in hopes of winning freedom for a fellow mammal held captive thousands of miles away:

Taken from her family and her Puget Sound home more than 40 years ago, the orca known as Lolita (originally Tokitae), a member of L-Pod, has spent all that time in a tank at the Miami Seaquarium. Of the dozens of killer whales captured all those years ago, she is the last survivor. This afternoon’s Alki gathering was in support of a larger rally in Miami, stepping up the pressure for Lolita to be “retired” and returned home.

From Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza, advocates, many with signs, headed on a one-mile march along the beach – here’s our video:

We estimated at least 150 supporters here; MiamiHerald.com estimates a thousand participants at today’s rally there. They heard from Howard Garrett of the Whidbey Island-based Orca Network, describing the plan already proposed for reintroducing Lolita to the wild via a sea pen in the San Juans. It’s not new, but there is a potential milestone driving the new attention – a federal ruling expected this month on whether Lolita will be officially included in the listing of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. That would not guarantee freedom for her, but could at least step up the pressure. According to the Miami Herald, the Seaquarium says flatly she’s not for sale and shouldn’t be freed. Meantime, back at Alki, Lolita’s supporters came from all age groups:

Advocates said that other support rallies were planned in San Diego, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Germany, and the UK.

Celebration of Life tomorrow for Joe Fine, 1938-2015

January 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Those who knew and loved Joe Fine are invited to his Celebration of Life tomorrow, 11 am-3 pm, at Duke’s on Alki. Here’s the remembrance that his family is sharing:

Joe Fine, 76, of West Seattle, passed away on Monday, January 5, 2015 from pancreatic cancer.

Joe was a legend to all that had the honor of knowing him. Born December 17, 1938 in Valentine, Nebraska to Mary Lamoureaux, he would spend his earliest years in Valentine at the family ranch just over the border in South Dakota. After WWII, he was adopted by William Fine, and the family settled in Billings, Montana, where Joe would graduate from high school. He attended and graduated from The University of Montana in Missoula. While there he was an active member of the Phi Delt house, where he was known as “Shakey.”

After graduating, he married Sharon Sayre and together they had two sons: William Glen and Gregory Joseph. He was a successful sales rep for Standard Oil and then Carpenter Paper before settling in Kalispell, Montana, where he owned a number of businesses including Joe’s Varsity, The Jean Factory, and Clothes Gallery. Whether he was creating award-winning promotions like Levi Clause and the Jean Advisor, or later selling diamonds in retail, doing remodel construction, or the nearly ten years he spent at Home Depot in the Garden Department, Joe is remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit and almost magical salesmanship.

All along the way, Joe collected a diverse group of friends that remained close throughout his life:

Click to read the rest of Celebration of Life tomorrow for Joe Fine, 1938-2015…

Adam Cozens: West Seattle-raised comedian coming home this month: ‘I think I’m doing the best stand-up of my life’

January 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS culture/arts | 3 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“In general, when I look back at where I was and where I wanted to be, if I knew I would be doing the things I’m doing now, I’d be so ecstatic.”

That’s how comic Adam Cozens, a West Seattle native, sums up what’s transpired in the four years since last we checked in with him. He had already been pursuing his dreams in New York for a few years when we interviewed him during holiday-season visits home in 2009 and 2010.

Then in December, he e-mailed WSB to let us know he’ll be back in the area this month, starting with a headliner show at Comedy Underground on January 21st. So we talked with him by phone to find out what’s changed in the four-plus years since he was last here doing a Seattle stand-up show while visiting family (his parents are still here in West Seattle, where, as we first noted in 2009, he attended Schmitz Park Elementary, Madison Middle School, West Seattle High School, and Seattle Lutheran High School).

One big change: He lives in Los Angeles now. (Pasadena, to be specific.) But that might not be the biggest.

Click to read the rest of Adam Cozens: West Seattle-raised comedian coming home this month: ‘I think I’m doing the best stand-up of my life’…

West Seattle High School senior Taryn Smith is Miss Seattle 2015

January 10, 2015 at 9:53 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

9:53 PM: Another victory of note tonight: Congratulations to West Seattle High School senior Taryn Smith, just crowned Miss Seattle 2015! More info to come.

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: Thank you to Melinda Fredericks for the photos. She says Taryn is also varsity cheer captain at WSHS and, “She is an amazing woman, fantastic leader and will do even more amazing things in the future!” The Miss Seattle competition is part of the Miss America program. P.S. Video from the announcement last night is here.

West Seattle Hack Night 2.0: Date set – now it’s RSVP time!

January 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

(WSB photo, November 2014 West Seattle Hack Night)
Back in November, the first-of-its-kind West Seattle Hack Night drew a bigger-than-expected turnout at WS Office Junction north of Morgan Junction – and now the date’s set for the next one. The announcement comes from OJ co-proprietor Stefan Hansmire:

The Office Junction will be hosting a FREE computer/coder hack night on Wednesday, January 14th from 6:30-9:00. Snacks and beverages provided. The agenda for the evening will be open – with the goal of fielding participants to learn what kind of applications they are working on so that we can tailor a future class with more focus.

You can RSVP now via the Meetup group set up before the November event – go here.

From West Seattle to Kurdistan: John Murphy’s work with Yezidi refugees fleeing ISIL

January 6, 2015 at 11:56 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

(John Murphy with Yezidi children; photo used with permission)
A West Seattle man is starting the New Year thousands of miles from home, working to help refugees who fled northern Iraq for Kurdistan. John Murphy is a Highland Park resident who, among other things, founded and leads The Cabiri. Right now, he is working to help Yezidi refugees, members of an ethnic minority forced from their homes by ISIL, which has targeted them with genocidal violence (here are reports from U.S. media and the BBC).

While nonprofit non-government organizations (NGOs) are helping some of the Yezidi refugees, others have taken shelter with relatives and sympathizers in towns around the region, and they are who Murphy is helping. We learned of his work via West Seattleite Lola Peters, who forwarded a message from Murphy that explains, “I’ve known Yezidi for two decades and have an ability to work within their culture. … The NGOs, although doing their best, they have lost people in the cracks. I am working with a private Yezidi collective to find needs, fulfill them, and mitigate hardships in the areas that have gotten (missed).”

Murphy has set up an emergency fund for the Yezidi refugees via this GoFundMe page, where you can read a short summary of his project. He also writes about it in-depth today at SeattleStar.net, noting, “Regardless of the largest refugee exodus since the Armenian genocide, few know exactly what is happening,” and concluding, “We in the West made this mess; let’s clean it up.” (While researching this, we happened onto a mention that U.S. military operations related to ISIL have cost $1 billion so far.)

Remembering Judy Lyn Sweetland, 1939-2014

January 3, 2015 at 4:12 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Family and friends are paying tribute to Judy Lyn Sweetland, who died on New Year’s Eve at age 75. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:

Judy Lyn (Crosslin) Sweetland

Judy Lyn Sweetland passed away on December 31, 2014 after a long battle with an autoimmune disease.

Judy was born in Yuma, Arizona, on September 16, 1939 to Marvin Thomas Crosslin and Theopa LeVal Piester. She spent her childhood in Yuma, Arizona; Brownfield & Fort Worth, Texas; and Yakima, Washington. In 1960, she graduated from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing as a registered nurse; got married; and moved to Seattle. After raising her children, she moved back to Arizona, longing to have more sunshine in her life (1987). Finally, she would return to Seattle to be closer to family (1995).

Her years in Arizona brought great personal growth. She lived in Wickenburg, Arizona, and worked at The Meadows, a residential treatment center for addictions; and at Rancho del los Caballeros, a guest ranch. While working at The Meadows, she wrote a self-help book for depression, The Sun Always Rises. It was written in response to patients’ requests for something in writing to support what they were learning during their recovery. While in Arizona, she learned the Krieger-Kunz model of Therapeutic Touch. Therapeutic Touch would then become her focus for the remainder of her life. She would treat, teach, and lead workshops, and lead meditations on spirituality and the energy connections to all that is around us.

Friends and family would describe Judy as: reflective, spiritual, loving, kind, caretaker, loyal friend, independent, connected, followed her calling as both a nurse and healer. She drew her energy from nature and loved to hike. Friends, family, and personal connections were extremely important to her.

Early in her nursing career, she was given the assignment to sit with a dying patient and his wife through the night. It was a very long night. She rotated holding each of their hands, while pondering how this was nursing. In the morning, the wife told her, “Thank you for sitting with me.” At that moment, she understood the power of providing compassionate support. She would then do that the rest of her life.

Judy was one of five siblings. She is survived by her brother Ken Crosslin (his two children Don and Thomas) and wife Dorothy; sister Carole Wimer (her husband Vern and their children Trever, Tracy, and Trisha); her two children Carl and John; Carl’s wife Debbie; and two grandchildren, Daphne and Sam. Both sons reside in West Seattle.

Private service will be held. Memorial donations to Indralaya (Eastsound, WA) in her remembrance are welcomed.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

New achievement for West Seattle’s top ump Kayleen Dunson, as she prepares to plunge (will you join her on the beach or field?)

December 31, 2014 at 10:10 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 1 Comment

If you’re going to tomorrow’s 10 am Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach – watch for the softball umpires who are doing it again this year. Leading the way will be West Seattle’s Kayleen Dunson, who shares the news of a big achievement in her storied career as an ump:

Kayleen Dunson, the Umpire in Chief for Seattle/Tacoma, and West Seattle resident, just earned ELITE Umpire Status from USA/ASA Softball.

Less than 1 percent of the 30,000 USA/ASA softball umpires in the country earn their Elite Umpire Status. It is the highest award for an American umpire. Kayleen joins just 14 other umpires in the Seattle area who have earned their Elite.

Only umpires who have earned their Elite Status are eligible to apply to become certified International Softball Federation (ISF) umpires – and only ISF umpires can work international championships – like the Olympics!

Kayleen will try for her ISF certification this July. And it’s looking like softball may make it’s way back into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Could she be selected to represent the United States there? It’s possible.

But Kayleen isn’t about the glory. “I do this because I’m having so much fun,” she said. She and about 15 other softball umpires will be “Polar Plunging” at Alki on New Year’s Day. “Umpiring is a family – like any family we have the ‘Steady Eddies’ and the ‘Crazies.’ On New Years Day a bunch of my like-minded ‘Crazies’ join me for a Plunge into Puget Sound – in full uniform. It’s a bond as strong as any family bond.”

Seattle needs about 50 new Softball Umpires this year. If you are interested, check out their website at www.smsua.org – or contact “Krazy Kayleen” at umpkayleen@outlook.com.

Kayleen adds an update about two people who signed up after past reports here: “West Seattle umpires Shani Neamen and Mike Katz both umpired their first National Championship Tournament this past summer. They did awesome!”

Memorial service Sunday for Mary Jane Erlewine, 1932-2014

December 31, 2014 at 9:12 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

In the days ahead, family and friends are saying goodbye to Mary Jane Erlewine, who died last week at 82. Here’s the remembrance sent to us to share with you:

Mary Jane Erlewine, a longtime resident of West Seattle, passed away on Friday, December 26th.

Mary Jane was born on April 23rd, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in nursing. She put her education to use as a registered nurse with Group Health Cooperative for over 25 years. She was married to Lewis Erlewine from 1958 until his death in 2000. She is survived by her sons Jim Erlewine, Tom Erlewine, Robert Erlewine, daughter-in-law Traci, granddaughter Christina, grandson Michael, brother Charles Gillece & his wife Beverly, sister Dolores Mehringer & husband Otto, and numerous nieces & nephews.

She was full of life and had a kind and generous spirit. Visiting new places, meeting new people, the symphony, the ballet, Alki Beach and her cabin on Ohop Lake in Eatonville brought joy to her life. Her laugh was infectious and will be missed very, very much.

Please join us for a celebration of her life. All are welcome. If you are unable to attend, celebrate by saying a prayer, sharing a memory &/or paying it forward.

Visitation
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 6701 30th Avenue SW

Service
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 3 pm
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Parish, 7000 35th Avenue SW

Burial
Monday, January 5th at 11:00 am
Calvary Cemetery, 5041 35th Avenue NE

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Update: Missing 21-year-old found, police taking him home

December 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 21 Comments

9:47 PM: The family of a 21-year-old man with Down syndrome says he is overdue from his usual walk around the block – he’s usually gone an hour or so but has been gone now for four hours – and they hope you can help find him. His name is Michael and he is 5’3″, about 190 pounds, dark hair, wearing a checkered “newsboy”-type cap, in a dark jacket and black shorts. He lives near 49th and Alaska and usually walks around the block a few times. He doesn’t have ID or money on him and his family is worried that even if he is lost, he won’t ask for help – also, he won’t be able to tell you his exact address. Police have been looking for Michael and haven’t found him – if you’ve seen him, please call 911.

10:50 PM: Just heard via scanner, police have found Michael (around 46th/Charlestown) and will be taking him home. (Added – his mom has confirmed this, too.)

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